DIn a note dated September 29, 1922, the Bavarian government set out its view of the economic situation and the economic policy to be followed in its view. The memorandum contains a number of demands for the restriction of luxury consumption and the import of luxury goods, which have been represented in the “Frankfurter Zeitung” for a long time.
It deserves special mention that Bavaria is committed to restricting the production of beer and schnapps. The export of vital goods needed domestically is to be prevented, and the proceeds from German exports are to be used to pay for the necessary imports. The increase in production is to be pursued with the focus on the essentials and with “refining” the eight-hour day.
Internal market pricing is to be subject to strict surveillance. The sharpest penalties are demanded for usury, the cleaning up and reduction of intermediate trade and the elimination of reparations profits are deemed necessary. However, invoicing and payment in foreign currency need not first be banned, as is being demanded, since existing laws preclude it. Very noteworthy is the postulate of strict monitoring of the cartels and syndicates, for which purpose an emergency decree with the following content is desired:
1. Compulsory registration for all price agreements with an antitrust authority or at least authorization of this authority to prescribe this compulsory registration for certain associations.
2. the duty of all associations to provide information to this authority;
3. the right of this authority to revoke and change the agreements and price fixings that have been made;
4. High penalties for violations.
If these demands are simple and clearly understandable, if not new, then the measures demanded for the Reich budget and the stabilization of the domestic price level lack the necessary logical consequence. Thrift in the Reich budget is certainly very desirable, but it seems questionable whether large cuts can still be achieved in this way. However, it is not acceptable to unilaterally demand services from the Reich without considering the possibility of financing them.
The Bavarian memorandum, which also considers exceptional tariffs for the procurement of food for the needy classes to be necessary, proceeds in the same way as is often popular nowadays to castigate the deficit economy of public companies and reject every tariff increase in one breath. Worse still is the ease with which, on the one hand, the reduction of the “downright outrageous” coal tax is demanded, and on the other hand, the replacement of the reparation coal deliveries by monetary payments.
And it continues to be said that the salaries and wages of civil servants, employees and workers must be increased across the board in line with the increased prices. It is left to others to think about how the deficit of the Reich budget, which has continued to increase as a result of these burdens, can be covered, how the inevitably rising inflation and brand devaluation can be remedied.
It is from this point of view that the proposal of artificially stabilizing a price level, which the memorandum considers worth examining, must also be considered. Ultimately, this proposal wants to carry out a complete forced economy in which all foreign exchange and import transactions are centralized and all domestic prices, salaries and wages are fixed once.
The thought of this arbitrary economic regulation may inspire hope and applause in those circles who do not see the deeper connections of the great brand devaluation, but if it were implemented it would lead to the worst consequences, to the complete disruption of our economy. The fact that the former pioneers against forced economy themselves do not see this is regrettable proof of the shortness of human memory.